UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Periodización e identidad cultural en el ensayo latinoamericano : tres puntos de vista: Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Domingo F. Sarmiento y José Martí Chachagua, Freddy Antonio


To date, the Latin American essay remains little studied, certainly compared to other literary genres such as the novel, poetry and theater. This thesis examines prevailing theorists' conceptions of the essay and its historical development in Latin America. Employing the notions of cultural identity and difference, which have long been central to Latin American critical thought, this study distances the development of the essay in Latin America from Spanish colonial writings of the sixteenth century. In its place, this study proposes an innovative classification scheme that incorporates cultural codes as its main criteria in order to provide a more equitable treatment of essays from areas that have traditionally been marginalized in standard chronologically based classification schemes. Some of the paradigms used in this study to defend the integrity and specificity of the Latin American essay and culture are Inca Garcilaso de la Vega's affirmation of the values of the continent's indigenous pre-columbian heritage, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's discursive reinvention of South America, and Jose Marti's notion of hibridez—a cultural and racial complex mixture rooted in the region's history—as an affirmation of a continental Latin American cultural identity. This thesis demonstrates that since Latin American essays diverge thematically from colonialist discourse, studies of the origins of the Latin American essay do not have to perpetuate the colonialist legacy.

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